In the year 1808, Sir Humphery Davy from England succeeded in isolating an element through electrolysis of a mix of HgO (mercury oxide) and magnesia. He called it magnium, still in its metal form. Years later, in 1831, A. A. B. Bussy prepared the same element in its coherent form and it was eventually termed as magnesium. Since then, it has been produced in various forms and many supplements are available. In the human body, magnesium makes up 0.1 percent of the elements and it is found mainly in the bones. The presence of magnesium is important in boosting internal metabolic reactions. In general, intake of magnesium by humans ranges between 250 to 350 mg per day. The ideal requirement of magnesium content in the human body is 200 mg and this is either taken from the food consumed or recycled from what is already present.
Magnesium is present in many food items we eat, such as spices, nuts, tea and leafy green vegetables. Sadly, our modern cooking methods and modified food content has destroyed most of the magnesium content in food. This deficiency has led to increased intake of artificial supplements, to augment magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium supplements are found in various forms, such as multi vitamins, laxative, antacids and even injections. However, excessive intake of supplements, rather than dietary sources, can lead to an overdose of magnesium and people with dysfunctional kidneys are more susceptible to it. Still, high doses of magnesium in laxatives or cathartics can affect people without kidney impairment as well. When there is excess amount of magnesium in the body, it is usually flushed out by the kidneys.
Common Magnesium Side Effects
Side effects of magnesium can be due a deficiency or because of an overdose. Either way, it is only in extreme situations that the person’s condition will become critical.
Magnesium deficiency is usually rare and can occur in people who are alcoholics or have undergone surgery, burns or maybe low blood levels of calcium. Some of the side effects or symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:
- Mild symptoms are fatigue, anorexia, insomnia, irritability and twitching of muscles. The mental symptoms include poor memory, confusion, reduced learning abilities and apathy.
- Symptoms in people who have moderate levels of deficiency are increased heartbeat rate and other cardiovascular fluctuations.
- An extreme deficiency of magnesium, which is rare, could result in numbness, tingling, continuous muscle contraction, delirium and hallucinations.
Some of the side effects that result from an overdose or high levels of magnesium in the body are:
- Mild side effects are low blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and muscle weakness.
- An extreme overdose of magnesium can cause irregular heartbeat, which is irreversible. It is rare, but can be fatal. The symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, reduced heartbeat rate, blurred vision and breathing trouble.
- In other severe cases, an overdose could also result in a coma.
It is essential to maintain a healthy balance of magnesium in the body. In case you find the necessity to take magnesium supplements, make sure to consult your doctor (especially if you have any kind of intestinal disease).